The ES-335 was created to blend the qualities of solidbody and hollowbody guitars. The Tremolux was the first Fender amp with built-in tremolo.

Merging the best traits of solidbody and hollowbody guitars, the Gibson ES-335 debuted in 1958. The revolutionary new instrument was built using a solid maple center block with hollow arched “wings” attached. This structure allowed for the attack and sustain of a solidbody combined with some of the resonant properties of an acoustic archtop, but without the tendency to feed back. The ES-335 was a hit, and was soon followed by two fancier models with the same construction: the ES-355 and the ES-345. The text in the 1963 catalog shows how popular the ES family of guitars had become by the 1960s: “Thin, double cutaway—a newsmaker from its first appearance, this model offers outstanding performance for ensembles, recording, radio, and TV at an amazingly modest price.”


A stop tailpiece was standard for an ES-335 in 1963, but if there was a custom order for one with a Bigsby vibrato, the stop-tailpiece holes were covered by a “Custom Made” plaque.

The 1963 ES-335 pictured has many features common to the model that year, including patent number humbucking pickups (the original patent-applied-for pickups were still used arbitrarily until the supply was exhausted in 1964), block inlay markers on a Brazilian rosewood fretboard (these replaced dot markers in 1962), a short 3-ply black pickguard (which replaced the original long pickguard in 1960), and a nickel-plated Tune-o-matic bridge. A stop tailpiece was standard for an ES-335 at the time, but if there was a custom order for one with a Bigsby vibrato, the stop tailpiece holes were covered by a “Custom Made” plaque. Instead of the usual Kluson Deluxe machine heads, this guitar has factory installed Grover Rotomatic tuners. The 1963 list price was $315. The current value for one in excellent all-original condition is $13,500.


A stop tailpiece was standard for an ES-335 in 1963, but if there was a custom order for one with a Bigsby vibrato, the stop-tailpiece holes were covered by a “Custom Made” plaque.

The amp behind the guitar is a 1963 Fender Tremolux. The Tremolux was originally introduced as a tweed 1x12 combo in 1955, but became a white Tolex 1x10 piggyback (head and bottom) in 1961. A piggyback head fastened to the bottom with chrome-knurled knobs. When the knobs were tightened, the tilt-back legs could be engaged to aim the amp’s sound higher. The Tremolux cabinet gained an extra 10" speaker in 1962, and two 6L6 power tubes (replacing the earlier 6BQ5s) provided about 30 watts of power. The 1963 list price was $279.50. The current value for the amp is $2,500.

Sources for this article include The Gibson 335: Its History and Its Players by Adrian Ingram, Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years by A.R. Duchossoir, Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years by John Teagle and John Sprung, and The Soul of Tone: Celebrating 60 Years of Fender Amps by Tom Wheeler.